TOPEKA, Kansas, March 10, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kansas Abortionist Herbert Hodes inadvertently provided the Kansas State Legislature with a compelling reason in favor of enacting tighter regulations on state abortion facilities during his testimony yesterday before a House committee. He revealed that there had been multiple maternal abortion deaths in Kansas previously unknown either to the public or, apparently, to the Committee members.
Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life, was present at yesterday’s hearing, and told LifeSiteNews that during his testimony before the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs, Dr. Hodes repeatedly stated that he was aware of “some” recent abortion deaths in Kansas.
When Committee Vice Chair Rep. Joe Patton asked Dr. Hodes how many deaths he meant, he responded: “there have been five in the past five years.”
There was, says Ostrowski, no hesitation in his reply, but neither was there any explanation of when these deaths occurred, or where. There are currently three abortion facilities operating in the state of Kansas, including Dr. Hodes’ own practice.
According to a blog entry on the Kansans for Life website, the most recent maternal abortion death that became public in Kansas was that of Christen Gilbert, a 19-year-old woman with Down Syndrome, who died after a botched abortion performed by the late Dr. George Tiller. Gilbert died in January of 2005, outside of the five year time frame given by Dr. Hodes.
Dr. Hodes’ figure is significant, explains Ostrowski, because there were 50,000 abortions performed in Kansas between 2006 and 2010. If there were 5 deaths among those 50,000, that would put the state’s abortion death ratio at 1 death in every 10,000 abortions, a far cry from the 6 in 1,000,000 figure cited by the National Abortion Rights Action League.
Ostrowski reported that although several Representatives wanted to question Dr. Hodes further, the hearing was cut short, and the committee was informed that the abortionist would be unable to return the following day.
Dr. Hodes’ testimony leaves many questions unanswered, and little recourse for obtaining further information. Kansans for Life has filed a request with the State Board of Healing Arts for information on the number of abortion-related deaths actually reported to the Board.
However, with no current statutory reporting requirements, there is apparently no guarantee that the Board will be able to provide any information on the figure cited by Dr. Hodes.
The legislation which Dr. Hodes’ testimony was meant to oppose, the Abortion Clinic Licensure Act, would rectify this situation by instituting new mandatory reporting requirements. The law would require that any maternal death resulting from an abortion be reported to the Department of Health and to the appropriate professional regulatory board within one business day. Injuries must be reported within ten days.
The law also enacts new safety and oversight procedures, such as making abortion doctors subject to unannounced inspections, and requiring that abortions after 22 weeks gestation take place only in ambulatory surgi-centers or hospitals.
A similar law was proposed and passed in 2005, but vetoed by then-governor Kathleen Sebelius. Proponents of the law are hopeful that this year’s attempt to pass it will be more successful, with pro-life governor Sam Brownback now in office.
Ostrowski recalled the story of Kansas abortionist Krishna Rajanna to illustrate the need for statutory reform. Rajanna’s medical license was revoked in 2005 after an investigation, originally prompted by allegations of theft, ended up uncovering horrific conditions in his Kansas clinic.
According to a report by Detective William Howard, staff members accused Rajanna of microwaving an aborted fetus and stirring it into his lunch.
“Even though we had board rules, this guy existed,” said Ostrowski. “We need a statute, and we need it enforced by our Kansas Department of Health, under the leadership of our new Governor.”